South African operator group Vodacom reported increased revenue for the final quarter of 2013, with strong growth in its international operations.

International service revenue increased 32.6 per cent to ZAR3.7 billion ($333.5 million), as strong customer growth took place on the back of network expansion and improved distribution.

As well as South Africa, Vodacom operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Tanzania and Lesotho.

The company had 25 million international customers by the end of the quarter, a 22.8 per cent increase, accounting for 44.7 per cent of the Group’s active subscribers. International data traffic was three times higher than a year ago.

Strong uptake of the M-Pesa mobile money service was seen during the period. Vodacom’s active M-Pesa customers increased 24.5 per cent to reach 5.8 million, 23.3 per cent of total active users of the service.

For the quarter ending 31 December, group revenue was ZAR20.2 billion, a 10.5 per cent year-on-year increase. Group service revenue rose 6.4 per cent to ZAR16.2 billion.

Data revenue rose an impressive 40.7 per cent, to reach ZAR3.6 billion, and accounted for 22.2 per cent of all service revenue.

Vodacom’s active customer base grew 12.3 per cent to hit 56 million, with active data customers hitting 23.7 million, a 27.9 per cent increase.

Even with the impressive international subscriber base, the vast majority of revenue came from South Africa, where revenue was ZAR16.5 billion, a 6.6 per cent increase. International revenue rose 33.5 per cent to hit ZAR3.8 billion.

South African service revenue rose 0.6 per cent (once mobile termination rates were excluded) to reach ZAR12.6 billion. Data revenue in the company’s main market grew 31.2 per cent, which Vodacom attributed to its handset financing programme and pricing strategy.

The average amount of data being used by Vodacom smartphone owners in South Africa increased 83.5 per cent from the previous quarter, to 254MB per month.

Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said the results show the operator’s “strategy of sustained network investment is key to grow our overall business while still driving down the cost to communication”.

Profit/loss figures were not revealed.